Guide to the Bloatmage?


Advice


Wait, has nobody ever done one of these? I did a quick search but didn't see one.

Doug M.


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I've not seen one either, which I lament to no end.

I'm guessing the problem is a lack of punch and/or versatility (oddly enough). I've played a few bloatmage characters (never past character level 10), and it always seemed like I was waiting for just another few levels before it could really shine. Ironically, I suppose it's a top-heavy class?


Emo Duck wrote:
I'm guessing the problem is a lack of punch and/or versatility (oddly enough). I've played a few bloatmage characters (never past character level 10), and it always seemed like I was waiting for just another few levels before it could really shine. Ironically, I suppose it's a top-heavy class?

Really? Huh. I haven't played one, but I have the impression that both the benefits and the problems for this PrC kick in right away. What were you waiting for -- and, more generally, what was your experience?

Doug M.


Douglas Muir 406 wrote:


Really? Huh. I haven't played one, but I have the impression that both the benefits and the problems for this PrC kick in right away. What were you waiting for -- and, more generally, what was your experience?

I'm going on subjective experience and hazy memories here, so I can't rule out that I just wasn't playing to the strengths of the class.

However, in the early levels I recall feeling that I didn't really have enough blood points to make a dramatic difference in spell availability. It certainly improved when I was able to use the Bloat ability twice per day (with twice the dice), but that's already level 9. What I really was looking forward to was the capstone of being able to drink blood in order to use bloodline abilities - but by then the character would be level 15, and those 10 levels would be without progress in wizard school abilities.

My impression was that the class doesn't truly become distinctive until level 3 and 4 (with Corpulence and a quadrupling of the Bloat ability respectively), and it was vexing to see the wizard class abilities (in my case) atrophy in return for something that felt rather less gradual.

I never did get to play a character that gained enough experience to get the capstone, though.


Having played a bloatmage, it felt (slightly) tougher than a wizard but I never really had problems being flexible. Minor abilities for the most part, and I never missed the wizard class abilities that weren't going up any farther - I had other abilities which were.

Drinking blood to use bloodline abilities... <shrug> By the time it could have worked, we were near the end of Curse of the Crimson Throne anyway.

Feats were very tight (you have several required feats to get into the class), but that just meant I had to make the most use of what I did have... and a full casting class usually can think of things to do. Slight nerfs on a wizard leave one, well, still a wizard.


Hey, Tony.

Can someone explain how the points work, then? I'm not sure I understand it from a cold read.

Doug M.


You can use blood points to cast a spell without losing it from memory (or without expending the spell if you're a spontaneous caster). If you've already cast all your spells, well, the ability isn't very helpful; you use it to get extra castings before running out, so it stretches your endurance.

When memorizing spells, you refill your pool (up to your bloatmage level) and you can also charge yourself up by getting extra blood points (but if you go too far over your limit, Bad Things happen) - generally this gives you a few extra spells a day, possibly of up to your highest level. Which is never a bad thing, though it's like pearls of power in that you can only use stuff you already have in your head, not extra slots you can fill with anything. I mostly used it to cast extra copies of stuff I was regularly using anyway, and carefully monitored my situation so I wasn't going to go crazy.

If, say, you're a wizard 5/bloatmage 2, you have a pool of 2, which you could use to cast 1 2nd level spell or 2 1st level spells without losing them - you could add 1d4 points on a bloodsurge, but you don't want to get 4 because that would put you at twice your limit and you'd go crazy. So you don't surge, unless you're doing the thing where you could regulate the surge a bit.

The other abilities are mostly extra toughness and defensive abilities (always good), plus being more affected by bleed damage (not good but it doesn't come up very often).


So at bloatmage L1, you can gain d4 extra points, but if you're starting at 1 point, a roll of 2 or higher and you go mad. Even if you've burned your single point and are starting at 0, you'll go mad on a 3 or 4. Don't bloat at first level. -- Hm, actually the whole chart is carefully contrived to keep tempting you into danger. If you play carefully, you can always avoid raging -- but because higher level spells are a lot more useful, careful play is suboptimal play.

So anyway -- a 5th level wizard / 5th level bloatmage has 5 points and can roll a d8 for more. If he wants to maximize his points without risking rage, he should spend 3 and then roll that d8 -- he'll end up with 3-10 points, average 7-8. Good chance of being sickened, but you can't rage. Okay, I see it. And if you take the "can subtract -1 from bloat rolls" ritual option, then best choice is to spend 2 points and then roll, ending up with 4-10 points.

A couple of questions come to mind.

1) What's the cheapest way to get rid of the Sickened condition? The class description doesn't give a duration, and I don't think Sickened automatically passes just by resting or whatever. I know there are a lot

2) Does the -2 Con penalty kick in when you do your rituals, or when you choose to take the -1 from your bloating roll?

Doug M.


Even suboptimal play as a bloatmage is "multiple extra spellcastings per day", which is pretty powerful.

Not sure about getting rid of Sickened.

I'm guessing the -2 Con penalty kicks in when you do your rituals (that's when you're doing all the self-cutting), at least that's how I played it as a bloatmage and how I'd do it as a DM.


You are sickened while your pool is over your level, you aren't sickened when it isn't...


plaidwandering wrote:
You are sickened while your pool is over your level, you aren't sickened when it isn't...

"If the bloatmage’s current number of blood points is greater than her class level but less than or equal to twice her class level, she gains the sickened condition."

That's a little unclear. Interpretation #1, you GAIN it when you have too many points. And that's all. You can have it taken off, but otherwise it stays. You don't UNgain it just because you lose points. You must get rid of it somehow.

Interpretation #2, you are sickened whenever you have too many points and there's nothing you can do about it. OTOH, you automatically lose the sickened condition once you lose the points.

#2 is cleaner and simpler and I personally like it better. #1 seems like a more valid interpretation of the rule as written, though.

Doug M.


#1 is not valid, you need to rule out interpreting things to create an absurd case

in your #1 you are sickened permanently unless cured, which is an untenable interpretation


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If you need to remove the sickened condition and it's permanent you have a problem. Remove sickness only suppresses it for 10 min./level, and anything else suppresses it for a shorter duration or gives a bonus to saves vs. getting sickened. Nothing actually cures it short of heal!

Fortifying leeches are designed to help bloatmages.


Bumping: so nobody has ever done a guide to the bloatmage? Huh.

Are there any threads discussing bloatmage builds and tactics?

Doug M.


Actually... That does bring up a few questions regarding the Bloatmage's selections for classes before the Prestige class. Considering it has to be an Arcane Spellcaster (level progression and blood points are only for Arcane Spellcasters), there are a lot to choose from.

Obviously, spontaneous casters are the "best" in terms of Blood Points and their expenditure, but a Transmutation School Wizard gives a much needed +2 to Con (or a different Physical stat if desired) so they can reliably leech drain themselves before purchasing the Fortifying Leeches. School Savant Arcanist also gains this benefit, but with the additional flexibility of being a "prepared Spontaneous" Spellcaster.

What do you guys think is the best choice for a Bloatmage's starting classes?


TheMonkeyFish wrote:

Actually... That does bring up a few questions regarding the Bloatmage's selections for classes before the Prestige class. Considering it has to be an Arcane Spellcaster (level progression and blood points are only for Arcane Spellcasters), there are a lot to choose from.

Obviously, spontaneous casters are the "best" in terms of Blood Points and their expenditure, but a Transmutation School Wizard gives a much needed +2 to Con (or a different Physical stat if desired) so they can reliably leech drain themselves before purchasing the Fortifying Leeches. School Savant Arcanist also gains this benefit, but with the additional flexibility of being a "prepared Spontaneous" Spellcaster.

What do you guys think is the best choice for a Bloatmage's starting classes?

I agree with Arcanist being a good choice. There may be some syngery to be found with magus, but you would either be reliant on spells like force hook charge or be a ranged style magus.


So... I just realized how funny an Arcanist with the School Savant Archetype would be with the Teleportation School of Magic (School Savant specifically states your aloud to have Specialization Schools if you so choose). At level 1, you can teleport 5 ft. per 2 levels of Wizard (min 5 ft.) as a swift action. Additionally, at level 5, you can spend an Arcane Point to get another swift action teleportation.

Yep, I think I'll be making my Exchange character into a Bloatmage now.


The thing is, besides the imagery the PrC gives you little until 10th. The blood points are a lot of disadvantages wrapped around a few extra spells/day, and a point or two of AC from corpulence isn't worth the loss of movement. The absorb bloodline capstone is interesting but minimum character level 15 means you'll hardly see it in use.

I suppose if you are going to use it a wizard or arcanist has fewer of their highest level slots; a sorcerer or silksworn occultist has less use for it, even if the image of the latter is perfect.


I feel that over the last decade, default play has shifted somewhat towards the 15 minute adventuring day. Maybe I'm wrong about that, but I see a lot of builds that seem optimized for that. Perhaps there's some subliminal influence from 5e, with its constant barrage of recharging rests?

The bloatmage goes in the opposite direction. Extra spells are not that useful when you're only going to have a couple of encounters, then rest. But they're very much what you want when your character will be running a protracted gauntlet of encounters.

Doug M.


You can also use the extra spells to cast multiple copies of, say, long-term buffs for preparation.

A bloatmage trades a little bit of wizard-stuff for a lot of endurance. I agree that this doesn't help (much) in a 15-minute adventuring day, but I liked the flavor too, and not all campaigns are 15-minute days.

Scarab Sages

I've been working on a Thassilonian Specialist (Sloth/Conjuration)/Bloatmage build for PFS (via a boon). It looks like it will be interesting, if I ever get around to playing the character. That may be overkill on extra spell slots, though. Especially for PFS.


Thassilonian Specialist seems like a great choice for the Bloatmage, considering you get even more spells/day at the cost of completely trading the 2 opposite schools as null and void. Unfortunately, it is a boon from a high level book, so it isn't something readily available for the prestige class to take.

That being said, Transmutation seems like the best bang for your buck, considering it gives you 2 free Con points that can be used for leeching. Combine with Fortifying Leeches, and you will probably be the thickest caster on the field - pun intended.

Additionally, Wizards seem to be the most alluring to be a Bloatmage because the qualify after 5th level, making them 1 level ahead in the Prestige Class than other options, and the Bloatmage is a level dependent prestige class. So the less class levels you take beforehand, the better.

Lastly, the best build type for Bloatmage appears to be Blaster, simply due to the sheer number of bonus spells they are able to grab. I'd say Evocation School us another good choice, giving them +2/+3 Damage to your damage Spells before becoming a Bloatmage. Admixture focus gives you the ability to bypass DR/abuse Vulnerability a number of times equal to 3+Int per day.

The Prestige class appears to benefit most from the Arcanist class in this regards - gaining that extra +1 damage before transitioning to Bloatmage and gaining the Spontaneous Caster benefits.

Just my 2 cents during my lunch break.

Scarab Sages

Slight spoiler for PFS Thassilonian Specialist boon.

Spoiler:
The boons comes from a high level scenario, but you can apply it to a new character. It’s certainly not something everyone will have access to, but if you do, it’s easy to build for it.

I’m thinking of using the Thassilonian/Bloatmage combination mostly for the image (also probably using a grippli boon, which is again suboptimal). Gluttony is the more obvious choice given the Bloatmage requirement to eat so much, but I don’t want to play a necromancer. And gluttony/necromancy isn’t an opposed school to sloth/conjuration, so who says I can’t have two sins?

Anyway, with Acadamae graduate as well, ill be able to summon as a standard. I’ll have plenty of spell slots to summon with. I feel like I’ll still end up with excess slots in a lot of scenarios. But it means I can spend slots on things like floating disk and unseen servant to carry food/feed me and not feel like I’m going to be short slots.

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